‘Yard sale’ assists women starting small businesses

MtnForum1By Jennifer Pund
Looking for great stuff at great prices? Since 1986, Nederland’s Mountain Forum for Peace has been holding its annual yard sale which serves as the group’s main fundraiser. Although the yard sale is June 3-5, the set up begins days before on May 29. Exactly what will be for sale is always a surprise, not only for buyers, but for the all-volunteer staff, too. The group also sees the sale as a community service by allowing people to donate their unwanted items. It’s a great time to spring clean and donate to help the Mountain forum for Peace. Like the past 30 years, the group will use the raised funds to sponsor and support organizations that concentrate on assisting women to begin their own small businesses.

“The first Mountain Forum for Peace yard sale was held in a founding member’s yard. I remember Sally Grahn telling me they made about $25,” member Dianne Fleming said. “Wow, how we’ve grown.”

In the more recent years, the annual sale is held at the Nederland Community Center, and takes up a majority of the building. Although the group doesn’t exactly know what they will have for sale, after many years of experience, members know how to divide areas of the Nederland Community Center. “We never really know quite what we will have at the sale until the week of [the event] when people bring in boxes and bags of everything. We have a whole room dedicated to clothing and shoes, as well as a whole hallway for kid’s clothing and toys,” Board Member Teagen Blakey said. “There is a room stacked almost floor to ceiling with books, along with some CDs, DVDs and, yes, VHS tapes too. The other main hallway is always devoted to kitchen supplies from plates and bowls to mixing supplies and containers.”

There is always a large selection of furniture including tables, chairs and couches. Sporting goods, holiday and craft items, picture frames, tools, jewelry and much more are also plentiful. New and more expensive items are also included. “Folks should look forward to the opportunity to do a bit of spring cleaning and pass off items in good condition to a place not far from home.”

On June 3-5, stop in to the Nederland Community Center to shop. “Come in to browse a great collection of items you’ve been looking for, but haven’t gotten around to getting, or that one thing that catches your eye. We have so many clothes, they are one paper bag for $5. Gently used items are such a great deal. They’re still in great condition, but so much cheaper than at a store,” Blakey said.

MtnForum2New this year, the group will only accept electronics that are from 2014 and newer. “[This]cuts down on the mass of cords and electronics in the back that you wonder, ‘Does this actually work?’ What few electronics we do offer will be high quality,” Blakey said.

What began as a group of women having coffee who decided to take an active stand in the world against nuclear proliferation has continued for over 30 years, and still continues to grow. “Just as it began, Mountain Forum for Peace is still based in our mountain community, has many members who have been dedicated to [the group] for more than a decade, but we are always looking for new members with fresh ideas,” Blakey said.

The funds raised from this year’s sale will continue to financially support organizations that help women begin their own businesses in developing countries as well contribute to seniors and students in Nederland. Returning to its roots, the group also has a big event planned for September when speaker Paul Chappell presents talks and a two-day workshop on peace and leadership. “It’s all more than just an idea due in large part to the funds raised at the sale,” she said.

Each year, the annual sale is an all volunteer event. “Not a single person is paid for their time, yet for eight hour days, there are volunteers helping to unload cars, disperse items to the right hallways, sort, organize and price the thousands of items that are brought to us,” Blakey explained. “On the last day the entire community center is returned to it’s previously empty, clean condition in just a few hours.”

The group would like to have as little waste as possible after the event, so be sure to look for treasures in the parking lot on Sunday. “If there is something you’re just not quite sold on, you also have the opportunity to pick it up for half price or possibly free on Sunday,” she said. “We are making a bigger effort to tell people about the free stuff that is either not worth our effort, or left over at the end of the event, will be outside. We want everyone to be aware of the decent items down in the parking lot.”

Blakey said after the long weekend of hard work, it gives the group a great sense of accomplishment and purpose when they step back and see what they’ve helped do in just a few short days.

The Nederland Community Center is located at 750 Hwy. 72 N. For more information or membership opportunities, visit

Originally published in the May 2016 issue of the MMAC Monthly

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